Lewis And Friends

Bright Shadow of Reality: C. S. Lewis and the Feeling Intellect, by Corbin Scott Carnell (Eerdmans, 1974, 180 pp., $2.95 pb), and Myth, Allegory, and Gospel: An Interpretation of J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, G. K. Chesterton, Charles Williams, edited by John Warwick Montgomery (Bethany Fellowship, 1974, 159 pp., $2.95 pb), are reviewed by Cheryl Forbes, editorial associate, CHRISTIANITY TODAY.

No other author, of this century at least, analyzed, explored, and used Sehnsucht as thoroughly as did C. S. Lewis. Defining Sehnsucht as a disorienting longing, Carnell isolates it as an aspect of Romanticism overlooked by most critics and writers—but not by Lewis. Carnell presents a convincing explanation of why this is so and shows that Sehnsucht is not a twentieth-century phenomenon.

Bright Shadow of Reality, then, is not only about C. S. Lewis. Rather, as Carnell states at the beginning of chapter two, it “is an attempt to explore an idea, to discover how that idea finds expression in Lewis’s writing, and to examine the validity of that idea as an instrument of literary analysis.”

Carnell spends too much time rehashing facts readily available in Lewis’s autobiography, Surprised by Joy. And he develops his argument about Lewis’s “feeling intellect” without thoroughly considering the Narnia Chronicles (he refers the reader to Walter Hooper’s essay, “Past Watchful Dragons,” in Imagination and the Spirit, edited by Charles Huttar, and to The Lion of Judah in Never-Never Land, by Kathryn Lindskoog). Yet his book performs two valuable functions for the scholar or advanced Lewis student. Carnell not only relates Sehnsucht to the past and isolates it as an aspect of Romanticism, but also shows how it forms part of what ...

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